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Can you i.d. this concertina?

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OK being serious here for a minute....

 

Yes - we all have to start out somewhere and it is highly likely that we may have to buy a lower-quality concertina to begin with. That's quite understandable. However, there is a trade-off between making progress and having a really poor-quality instrument, which will actually hold you back, because (i) it is physically hard to play, (ii) it sounds awful and (iii) it is likely to go wrong sooner rather than later. I know this - I've been there, many years ago.

 

It is far, far better to just spend a just a little bit extra money and get a decent beginner's instrument, perhaps a Stagi or preferably a Rochelle. You will learn faster, be less frustrated and you will want to keep coming back to the instrument to practise. A Rochelle will actually hold a lot of its value for when the time comes to upgrade.

 

Understandable. So far I can't find a Rochelle in D/G & if I'm going to pay that much I want it in a key I can also use for singing. I've seen Stagi panned, too. The Button Box has some Stagi D/Gs & states their prep makes the difference. If I understand correctly, I'd also be advised to travel there as shipping can cause problems, too. I'm not sure if that's just for problems caused by heat meaning it would be o.k. in the winter.

 

My question to you was about me wondering if there was something that automatically lets you know it's not good enough just by looking at a picture even without knowing the manufacturer. I'm admittedly new to the instrument & find some people have concertinas w/o knowing whether the instrument is any good or not. I know the instrument needs to be played & inspected, but you seem to have some guidelines to instantly rule out some.

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OK being serious here for a minute....

 

Yes - we all have to start out somewhere and it is highly likely that we may have to buy a lower-quality concertina to begin with. That's quite understandable. However, there is a trade-off between making progress and having a really poor-quality instrument, which will actually hold you back, because (i) it is physically hard to play, (ii) it sounds awful and (iii) it is likely to go wrong sooner rather than later. I know this - I've been there, many years ago.

 

It is far, far better to just spend a just a little bit extra money and get a decent beginner's instrument, perhaps a Stagi or preferably a Rochelle. You will learn faster, be less frustrated and you will want to keep coming back to the instrument to practise. A Rochelle will actually hold a lot of its value for when the time comes to upgrade.

Understandable. So far I can't find a Rochelle in D/G & if I'm going to pay that much I want it in a key I can also use for singing. I've seen Stagi panned, too. The Button Box has some Stagi D/Gs & states their prep makes the difference. If I understand correctly, I'd also be advised to travel there as shipping can cause problems, too. I'm not sure if that's just for problems caused by heat meaning it would be o.k. in the winter.

 

My question to you was about me wondering if there was something that automatically lets you know it's not good enough just by looking at a picture even without knowing the manufacturer. I'm admittedly new to the instrument & find some people have concertinas w/o knowing whether the instrument is any good or not. I know the instrument needs to be played & inspected, but you seem to have some guidelines to instantly rule out some.

 

Shipping shouldn't be a problem for a Stagi, if that's what you wind up with.

 

There's no G/D Rochelle. A few of us tried to talk Wim Wakker of Concertina Connection into producing one a while back, but he didn't think that the market would be big enough to justify the set-up cost.

 

I think that Steve recognized that concertina as one of the really bad Scholers with stained-wood ends. My playable Scholer has plastic "pearloid" ends -- that model may have been a bit better.

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Understandable. So far I can't find a Rochelle in D/G & if I'm going to pay that much I want it in a key I can also use for singing. I've seen Stagi panned, too. The Button Box has some Stagi D/Gs & states their prep makes the difference. If I understand correctly, I'd also be advised to travel there as shipping can cause problems, too. I'm not sure if that's just for problems caused by heat meaning it would be o.k. in the winter.

From what I've heard, the Button Box do a good job on setting up the Stagis as well as can be. The sadly late Richard Morse of the BB was a very experienced concertina maker and his Morse concertinas are very good indeed, and some of that wisdom will undoubtedly have been passed on to the experienced people who work on the Stagis.

I've never heard that shipping can be a problem. After all, the BB exports instruments across to the UK. I think you could be confident in ordering a G/D Stagi from the BB and having it shipped to you; the BB is a good organisation with a reputation to maintain.

My question to you was about me wondering if there was something that automatically lets you know it's not good enough just by looking at a picture even without knowing the manufacturer. I'm admittedly new to the instrument & find some people have concertinas w/o knowing whether the instrument is any good or not. I know the instrument needs to be played & inspected, but you seem to have some guidelines to instantly rule out some.

In this case, and as Daniel has rightly surmised, I know exactly what to expect from those stained wood ended Scholers. Not just from the one I had, but I've come across a few others over the years too. All have been similarly horrid. To a large extent, with concertinas, you do get what you pay for. The really cheap ones are usually just not worth bothering with for the reasons I've already outlined. The Rochelle and its English counterparts, the Jack and the Jackie, are the exceptions to this. They have been designed by Wim and Karen Wakker, who are renowned concertina makers.

 

But as you want a G/D instrument, then you really need to be thinking of a Stagi as your base-line quality instrument, and that comes down to getting it from the Button Box with the extra set-up service that they offer. You may drop on lucky and find a reasonably good second-hand instrument, but then unless you try before you buy (and preferably get a concertina-playing friend to do the same), it is always a risk.

 

I confess I don't know much about the particular Castiglione concertinas which Daniel mentions, but the double-reeded types will have two reeds per note, tuned an octave apart, producing a rather different, accordion-like sound, more akin to the bandoneon and the large Chemnitzer concertinas rather than the sweeter, purer sound of the single reeded instrument that most of us here recognise as a concertina. If the Castiglione dealer is within travelling distance, then the best thing would be to visit and try as many different concertinas as you can. Then you will be in a much better position of knowing what it is you really want.

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I confess I don't know much about the particular Castiglione concertinas which Daniel mentions, but the double-reeded types will have two reeds per note, tuned an octave apart, producing a rather different, accordion-like sound, more akin to the bandoneon and the large Chemnitzer concertinas rather than the sweeter, purer sound of the single reeded instrument that most of us here recognise as a concertina. If the Castiglione dealer is within travelling distance, then the best thing would be to visit and try as many different concertinas as you can. Then you will be in a much better position of knowing what it is you really want.

My info about Castiglione is a few years old, but so far as I know it's still up to date. In late 2006 I was interested on trying out G/D Anglo after many years of playing C/G and I was looking for the least expensive decent G/D option. Klaus Guhl here on c.net had recommended the 20-button concertinas from Schaumanufaktur Klingenthal. I contacted them and they referred me to Castiglione as an American dealer of their concertinas. I got in touch with Castiglione and ordered a single-reed G/D. When it arrived, I realized that I should have asked whether it was a low G/D (the usual kind, pitched a fourth below a C/G) or a high one (pitched a fifth above). It turned out to be a high G/D, the opposite of what I wanted. Castiglione wasn't interested in giving me a refund but they were willing to do a full-price exchange for a double-reed, which has one low-pitched and one high-pitched reed per note, as Steve says. It's true that the sound was a bit different from a single-reed concertina, but it was a well-made instrument and I enjoyed playing it. After a while, I got an opportunity to buy a nice G/D 20-button Lachenal, switched over to that and eventually sold the Castiglione to another player.

 

I completely agree with Steve's suggestion that you try out various options before making your decision if you can. You might want to contact Castiglione ahead of time to see what they have in stock. They do carry the Stagi line as well as their own brand. They don't know much a lot about concertinas (they're primarily an accordion dealer, a very big one) but I was satisfied overall with my dealings with them.

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I confess I don't know much about the particular Castiglione concertinas which Daniel mentions, but the double-reeded types will have two reeds per note, tuned an octave apart, producing a rather different, accordion-like sound, more akin to the bandoneon and the large Chemnitzer concertinas rather than the sweeter, purer sound of the single reeded instrument that most of us here recognise as a concertina. If the Castiglione dealer is within travelling distance, then the best thing would be to visit and try as many different concertinas as you can. Then you will be in a much better position of knowing what it is you really want.

My info about Castiglione is a few years old, but so far as I know it's still up to date. In late 2006 I was interested on trying out G/D Anglo after many years of playing C/G and I was looking for the least expensive decent G/D option. Klaus Guhl here on c.net had recommended the 20-button concertinas from Schaumanufaktur Klingenthal. I contacted them and they referred me to Castiglione as an American dealer of their concertinas. I got in touch with Castiglione and ordered a single-reed G/D. When it arrived, I realized that I should have asked whether it was a low G/D (the usual kind, pitched a fourth below a C/G) or a high one (pitched a fifth above). It turned out to be a high G/D, the opposite of what I wanted. Castiglione wasn't interested in giving me a refund but they were willing to do a full-price exchange for a double-reed, which has one low-pitched and one high-pitched reed per note, as Steve says. It's true that the sound was a bit different from a single-reed concertina, but it was a well-made instrument and I enjoyed playing it. After a while, I got an opportunity to buy a nice G/D 20-button Lachenal, switched over to that and eventually sold the Castiglione to another player.

 

I completely agree with Steve's suggestion that you try out various options before making your decision if you can. You might want to contact Castiglione ahead of time to see what they have in stock. They do carry the Stagi line as well as their own brand. They don't know much a lot about concertinas (they're primarily an accordion dealer, a very big one) but I was satisfied overall with my dealings with them.

 

Thanks yet again, Daniel. Before deciding a concertina was more of what I want, I picked up a melodeon from an antique dealer & then on Elderly Music's advice I went to Castiglione's. He was a bit dismissive of the "button box", but they obviously know their stuff there & have books to help. Among other things I picked up the 1 on concertina maintenance. He said I wouldn't need it, but I thought there were a few bits I might use. Turns out I was right since I've switched to concertinas. They love accordions there & freely admit that. Still, while they probably consider concertinas & melodeons poor cousins of the accordion, they are the ones to visit in this area for books, repair, & I'll check to see if they have any single-reed low G/Ds when I'm in their area next month.

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I confess I don't know much about the particular Castiglione concertinas which Daniel mentions, but the double-reeded types will have two reeds per note, tuned an octave apart, producing a rather different, accordion-like sound, more akin to the bandoneon and the large Chemnitzer concertinas rather than the sweeter, purer sound of the single reeded instrument that most of us here recognise as a concertina. If the Castiglione dealer is within travelling distance, then the best thing would be to visit and try as many different concertinas as you can. Then you will be in a much better position of knowing what it is you really want.

My info about Castiglione is a few years old, but so far as I know it's still up to date. In late 2006 I was interested on trying out G/D Anglo after many years of playing C/G and I was looking for the least expensive decent G/D option. Klaus Guhl here on c.net had recommended the 20-button concertinas from Schaumanufaktur Klingenthal. I contacted them and they referred me to Castiglione as an American dealer of their concertinas. I got in touch with Castiglione and ordered a single-reed G/D. When it arrived, I realized that I should have asked whether it was a low G/D (the usual kind, pitched a fourth below a C/G) or a high one (pitched a fifth above). It turned out to be a high G/D, the opposite of what I wanted. Castiglione wasn't interested in giving me a refund but they were willing to do a full-price exchange for a double-reed, which has one low-pitched and one high-pitched reed per note, as Steve says. It's true that the sound was a bit different from a single-reed concertina, but it was a well-made instrument and I enjoyed playing it. After a while, I got an opportunity to buy a nice G/D 20-button Lachenal, switched over to that and eventually sold the Castiglione to another player.

 

I completely agree with Steve's suggestion that you try out various options before making your decision if you can. You might want to contact Castiglione ahead of time to see what they have in stock. They do carry the Stagi line as well as their own brand. They don't know much a lot about concertinas (they're primarily an accordion dealer, a very big one) but I was satisfied overall with my dealings with them.

 

Thanks yet again, Daniel. Before deciding a concertina was more of what I want, I picked up a melodeon from an antique dealer & then on Elderly Music's advice I went to Castiglione's. He was a bit dismissive of the "button box", but they obviously know their stuff there & have books to help. Among other things I picked up the 1 on concertina maintenance. He said I wouldn't need it, but I thought there were a few bits I might use. Turns out I was right since I've switched to concertinas. They love accordions there & freely admit that. Still, while they probably consider concertinas & melodeons poor cousins of the accordion, they are the ones to visit in this area for books, repair, & I'll check to see if they have any single-reed low G/Ds when I'm in their area next month.

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